After completing an almost two-year colonization process, the Alpha Chi Zeta Chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha has become a nationally chartered chapter. More than 175 people consisting of brothers, alumni, family members, national representatives and University InterFraternity Council members, attended a black-tie chartering banquet at the Crowne Plaza on West Broad Street Friday night.
Bryce Carson, who organized the celebration, took a break from trekking around 50 pounds of candles and described a feeling of huge relief in knowing that the event was coming together and that the colony was finally able to be recognized.
Lambda Chi Alpha was reestablished as a colony on campus in 2010 after being dissolved by the university in 1999. Current President Colin Cardwell said contact with those specific brothers has been limited, but he described the majority of alumni as incredibly supportive.
In 2009, national representatives identified and contacted students they believed met their ideals in an effort to bring the fraternity back to campus.
Lambda Chi was originally chartered in 1918 and has a strong historical presence on campus. It was one of the first chapters to have an official no hazing policy in the '70s and Cardwell described the fraternity as being "all about values," and "just different."
Carson and sophomore brother Martin King agreed. Carson emphasized that the brotherhood never really ended, and King spoke enthusiastically of current brothers as well as alumni, including one alumnus in his 50s who still wore his letters.
Cardwell said the university was helpful in the colonization process and credits Alison Bartel Keller, director of Greek Life, as "helpful with rushing and leeway," but he said the process was strenuous and required extensive alumni support. Cardwell said he was excited to be able to focus on other things, such as pumpkin and watermelon smashing to support the fraternity charity, the National Food Drive for America.
The chartering banquet included a three-course meal with speakers throughout the evening including Cardwell, Keller and the national president of Lambda Chi, or Grand High Alpha, Drew Hunter.
Matthews, an alumnus of William Jewell College in Missouri, Vietnam veteran and alumni adviser to the University of Richmond's Lambda Chi chapter, gave an emotional speech and received a standing ovation.
"If you're lucky in your life," Matthews said, "you have the chance to be part of a group of men who are so extraordinary, so special, that you feel yourself being a better man by being with them.
"It might be a sports team, it might be a fraternity, it might be a platoon... I was really lucky; I had three such chances in my life. With my Lambda Chi chapter at William Jewell College, in Vietnam, and with the Lambda Chi chapter in Central Florida ... I didn't think I had another chance, until January of 2010 when the letter came in, and I enacted with the men of this colony. Brothers, you have helped me to be a better man."
Cardwell praised the efforts of the alumni and campus brothers while emphasizing the need to build toward the future. "Our chapter is incredibly unique, especially for Richmond," Cardwell said. "In many aspects and the fact that we truly believe in our values and take them to heart. I'm constantly impressed by the brothers that surround me."
Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter
Ben Digel, a founding member of the chapter and current member of the chapter's executive committee, said he saw the charter as only the beginning. "For us, being chartered meant more than being recognized by nationals as an official chapter and all the benefits along with being a chapter," Digel said. "It was also a milestone, a pat on the back, to illustrate just how far we have come and how far we can go."
This version corrects the school at which Matthews is the adviser. It is Richmond, not Central Florida.
Support independent student media
You can make a tax-deductible donation by clicking the button below, which takes you to our secure PayPal account. The page is set up to receive contributions in whatever amount you designate. We look forward to using the money we raise to further our mission of providing honest and accurate information to students, faculty, staff, alumni and others in the general public.Donate Now